Assistant Professor Melanie Matchett Wood’s favorite part of math is talking about the subject—and working through problems—with other people. That passion, which ignited when she began participating in math competitions in 7th grade, continues to drive her as she blazes trails in the field.
In her noteworthy career, Wood has already achieved many mathematical firsts, including being named the first female recipient of the Morgan Prize, the nation’s top honor in math for undergraduate research. Her current work focuses on the interplay between number theory and algebraic geometry.
At Stanford, Wood spends much of her day doing research, working on problems that no one has solved or knows how to solve. To her, the key to finding answers is not merely technical skill but also creativity and the ability to imagine and pursue new ideas when others fail.
That philosophy extends not only to Wood’s spirited exchanges with fellow mathematicians, but also to her teaching. Whether leading an undergraduate class in linear algebra or discussing research with a graduate student, she always encourages her students to think outside the box and relentlessly approach a question from all angles.